Skip to comments.How Influential is Conservative Talk Radio?
Posted on 02/10/2013 7:45:13 AM PST by TeaPartyJakes
In the wake of the 2012 re-election of Barack Obama, I began to wonder how influential conservative talk radio is.
Serendipitously, I received a copy of Fred V. Lucas new book, The Right Frequency: The Story of Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment ($18.95, History Publishing Company).
Throughout the 1980s and 90s I was a guest on television and a lot on talk radio thanks to a popular media spoof, The Boring Institute, that offered lists of The Most Boring Celebrities of the Year, the Most Boring Films, et cetera. After 9/11 I put the Institute on hiatus and then ended it.
This was, coincidently, the same era that saw the rise of talk radio and, in particular, the rise of conservative talk radio stars such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others with audiences in the millions. What has me wondering about their influence, however, is the latest election in which Obama gained a sufficient margin to defeat Mitt Romney despite what is arguably the worst economy since the Great Depression, the passage of Obamacare over the protests of millions of Americans, and similar issues that would ordinarily have rendered him a one-term President.
Perhaps the 2008 election was just an anomaly, given the novelty of a Black candidate and the intense support of the mainstream media. But that pattern repeated itself in 2012 and, despite the 24/7 conservative radio chatter, it did not sway voters.
As Lucas noted, Of listeners to the news talk format of radio, 77 percent voted in the 2008 presidential election, according to the 2010 Talk Radio Research Project conducted by Talkers Magazine, which covers the talk radio industry. That does not mean Limbaugh or for that matter Ed Schultz is the reason certain people vote it is quite likely that the entertainment value of talk radioa mixture of satire and commentaryhas made ordinary Americans more engaged in politics than they would be if talk radio did not have such a large reach, even if some of those listeners are just tuning in to argue with the host.
Some statistics are helpful. According to the 2010 Talk Radio Research Project, 81% of all news talk radio listeners are 35 years or older. Interestingly, just 28% identify themselves as Republicans, while 54% identify themselves as independent. Politically, 40% identified themselves as either conservative or ultra-conservative, while just 15% identified themselves as liberal or ultra-liberal. Talk radio is essentially preaching to the choir.
The lack of liberal talk radio suggests that liberals are less involved with the medium and the failure of Air America Radio with hosts that included Jeanine Garafolo and Al Franken was impressive. Lucas said it was a chaotic mess from its launch with changing ownership, a revolving door of management, and worse yet, a corruption charge. In 2005 it filed for bankruptcy.
For my part, I make a point of listening to the first ten or fifteen minutes of Limbaugh, knowing that he will spend the next three hours exploring a particular theme on any given day. Where I live on the East Coast, WABC radio provides lots of conservative talk and, in the evening, I watch Fox News, but often do not watch for long. Most of the news I absorb daily comes from Internet news sites and my daily reading of The Wall Street Journal.
Is Rush Limbaugh influential? Obama seems to think so because Rush has now replaced George W. Bush as his favorite bogyman and punching bag.
Its worth noting that Rush does not endorse candidates and was lukewarm towards both McCain and Romney during the past two elections. Lucus quotes him as saying I dont say that I have influence. I was totally opposed to the 1990 budget deal and it still happened. I am not an activist this is entertainment.
That, I suspect, is Limbaughs great appeal. He is very entertaining. It does not, so far as I can see, translate into influence at the polls because many of Rushs devoted Ditto Heads may, as they did in the last election, decided to stay home.
The Obama White House knows it has the mainstream media in its pocket. They have become little more than a megaphone for its policies and, these days, an instrument of liberal propaganda. The White House political agenda is advanced by a no-holds-barred attack on anyone who oppose their policies and, of late, a deliberate effort to undermine the Republican Party that is still reeling from the 2012 loss.
Obamas thuggish politics these days involves attacking the leading conservative news outlet. In an interview with The New Republic, Obama continues to denigrate Fox News and Limbaugh, claiming that the more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word. This is a President who has demonstrated no inclination to compromise on anything and a disdain for Congress and the Constitution.
The end of the FCCs Fairness Doctrine in 1987 that required equal time for opposing political views marked the rise of conservative talk radio. Today it can be heard locally and in syndication from coast to coast. Reagan vetoed legislation to make it the law of the land calling it unconstitutional.
That does not mean, however, that conservative talk radio is influential because it appeals to an older, better educated audience, a demographic that leaves out those under 35 and low income listeners, an increasing percentage of whom are on some form of government dole.
A significant portion of low information voters who elected Obama were not listening to conservative talk radio. The popularity of Fox News does not appear to translate into any effect on Congress or the White House. They were all over the Benghazi scandal and it has fizzled.
Despite dwindling newspaper circulation, despite the rise of the Internet as a provider of news, and despite the popularity of conservative talk radio, it would appear that the mainstream media is winning by parroting the daily White House talking points and by burying White House scandals such as the Benghazi cover-up. The recent Sunday Sixty Minutes interview with the President and out-going Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is testimony to the slavish support of the mainstream media.
It does not help that the Republican Party is struggling to put forth a cohesive and persuasive agenda or that it lacks the kind of leadership that reflects the kind of adulation and support the President continues to enjoy.
How many people are converted by hearing the choir?
The hosts play their part of constantly reminding us how powerful them “libruls” are, so I basically shut the radio off two months ago. They are nearly a complete waste of time, a demoralization operation at best.
Talk radio is the the great placation machine for the left and they don’t even realize it. They(MSM left) should encourage talk radio as it relieves the pressure for conservative to actually DO anything. Machiavelli could not have thought of a better scheme to cow the opposition.
>>It does not help that the Republican Party is struggling to put forth a cohesive and persuasive agenda or that it lacks the kind of leadership that reflects the kind of adulation and support the President continues to enjoy.<<
enjoy from the MSM. No non-liberal can get traction (much less constant fellatio) from the LSM.
The Republican leadership has let that same MSM write the narrative and criteria for our leaders.
The problem is NOT demographics. It is lack of courage. We need leaders who are MORE Conservative, not less. Frankly, Rush and Sean SHOULD be picking our candidates!
The low-information voters and people on the government teat are in the majority now, and obviously vote.
It does make sure those in the choir each have a hymnal from which to sing. If you don’t know the lyrics or notes, you sure can’t give a very convincing performance. We need more educated and articulate conservatives in the army to take a convincing message out there.
In the early 1930s, Father Coughlin had the most popular radio show, and H. L. Mencken was America’s most popular topical writer. Did they stop the New Deal?
Politically Incorrect Michael Berry Show Free MP3 Podcasts of KTRH. I enjoy listening to Michael Berry. This is ear candy for a conservative red neck. Michael Berry goes Helihog Hunting. This is the conservative talk show host to listen to for sure.
Jason Lewis' Podcasts The podcasts are free MP3 files. There are three hours each week day. They used to be without commercials. I download them each day and really enjoy listening to Jason. His show is like a course in economics and the law.
Roger Hedgecocks' Podcasts The podcasts are free MP3 files. There are three hours each week day without commercials. Roger gets the word out on most of the shenanigans going on with our excessive big government. He also gets people involved in an effort to promote conservatism.
Mark Levin Audio Podcasts He has been doing a great job of explaining Marxism and the playbook Obama is using, Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.
I am a talk radio junkie! They tell me things that the Drive-By Media doesn't.
Why just yesterday, Michael Berry told me about meterosexual (sp) pansies.
Here is the link. Men, listen and enjoy. Starts about halfway through the clip.
Download or Listen Here: Michael Berry Podcast
Good Hunting... from Varmint Al
So take the republican millionaires and billionaires and buy up the MSM.
Advertising works, why else would companies pay out 2 million a minute to advertise during the Super Bowl?
The MSM has to be worth a Trillion a year in free advertising. Until you can equal that your message won’t get through.
It’s not the message that is wrong, its the advertising.
To paraphrase: It’s the media stupid!
Fraud! With the number of Democrat precincts reporting statistically highly suspicious 95% turnout , more than 100% turnout, 100% voting for Obama, and reports from voters in Republican precincts of voting machines defaulting to Obama....Well?...who knows if Obama won or not?
The quality of a Democratic Republic will never exceed the quality of the press.
The conservative talkers have done a great job of informing us of the advance of collectivism, while the collectivists just went on advancing.
——We have now had at least one more generation of voters indoctrinated in godless and socialist-entitlement K-12 schools that are prison-like, and Marxist and homo-infested. If we school our nation's children in godless, socialist-entitlement, and prison-like schools we will get generations of voters that are comfortable being socialist and godless prisoners of the state.
-— Out of control immigration. ( Please remember that Native Americans lost their culture to immigration that they failed to control.)
-— More kids than ever marching off to the college level Marxist indoctrination camps.
Even talk radio can't overcome that level of pressure from the Marxist left.
Absolutely right. This is why we have to support Fox, however disappointed we are with them, and Beck's fledgling network. Buying up the LSM networks is also a good idea. It's not an either/or situation. Let's pursue all revolutionary avenues.
Posessing a significant share of the media would counteract the colleges and entertainment industries combined.
As the author alludes to, the greatest power of the MSM lies in the editor’s mind. The news the public never hears fom the MSM is more important and has greater impact than what the public does hear. No POTUS even Obama could survive the multiple stories like Benghazi, F&F, the EPA’s war on private property, the mess that is Obamacare,the unemployment and the overall economy and on and on. Compare the stories on Abu Gharib to Benghazi. The NYT ran it on the front page 70 days in a row. Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham, Levin, all pale when compared to the editorial decisions for the evening network news.
Three issues ignored ( among several):
— Homosexuals in the military
— Homofascist bullying of ordinary citizens.
— Calling for the closure of the prison-like, godless, and socialist-entitlement K-12 schools.
Rush, Levin, Hannity, etc. have shown their audiences what cowards they really are and how worthless any of their shows are to listen to. When whatever comes about happens, as far as I am concerned, they are on the same side as Obama. Screw em.
Talk radio is influential among those who listen to it. But most Americans don’t listen to talk radio. We are at our jobs or spending time with our families, etc.
100% right. I'm always surprised when I hear that Rush/Sean continue to pull a significant audience. Half of me doesn't believe it.
I started to recognize your point in the mid ‘90’s when Hannity constantly said “three hours a day, that's all we ask...”. Then I started to ask myself and other like-minded conservatives - how does giving Hannity 3 hours/day effect the kind of change we need here in America? The answer, of course, is it doesn't really. All it does is keep the troops pacified, while lining their pockets with cash.
It was then I stopped wasting my time with them.
Once a listener till I figured out it’s just boob bait for the bonkers.
“The low-information voters and people on the government teat are in the majority now, and obviously vote.”
- More than once, apparently.
Yes, it is Commandment that we are to forgive everyone, but we are NOT commanded by God to TRUST everyone.
Rush, Hannity, Levin, Ingrahm, Coulter, Beck and the rest, have FOREVER lost my trust.
If and when true tyranny comes to the U.S. these conservative media weenies will sell their talents to the fascist oligarchy. They will lick the jack boots crushing our necks. Bet on it!
That was the Progressive Plan from the very beginning of government owned and run socialist-entitlement schooling in the mid 1800s.
"After I leave here, Rush Limbaugh is going to come on for three hours...there is no truth detector."
In other words, he was terrifically miffed that Rush had exactly 15 hours per week to spill his guts with no liberal working to refute him.
Ha, ha, ha.
Yep, Bill Ayers has recently been crowing about their success at crippling our nation with their form of perverted education.
It took them a long time to re-train the teacher colleges, but since the 1970s they have been working precisely in the public schools using sophisticated techniques designed to turn our children into sociopaths.
“After I leave here, Rush Limbaugh is going to come on for three hours...there is no truth detector.”
There is NO truth detector. Rush and the rest merely nibble at the edges of issues that will not have a major impact on the direction of the nation.
[[How Influential is Conservative Talk Radio?]]
Does this even have to be asked AFTER LOSING two elections to them ost l iberal marxist anti-american ever? Talks radio amounts to a pisshole i nthe snow- it’s meaningless- it can’t even stir up the right to get otu and vote let alone convince the middle to vote republican- All the talk shows, tv programs, pundits etc- did absolutely nothign to show peopel what the left is trulyl ike- they FAILED MISERABLY- America no logner cares what the left does- Our leade4r SLEPT THROUGH Ben Ghazi- and hten lied repeatedly for 20 days both here and abrad, and got caught red handed lying about it, and America does NOT care-
I hate to say it, but the right is in serious trouble- This ocutnry does NOT care what the left does, but will crucify anyoern on the right for even them ost benign things and scream bloody murder if the right is anythign but absolutely perfect-
This coutnry has changed for hte worse I’m afraid- and we were witness to it this past election when America said loud and clear that they do NOT want truth, they do NOT want justice, they do NOT even want hteir constitutional rights- All they weant is for big government to ‘give them thigns’- their message was loud and clear- and we’re even seeing soem o nthe right defectign to the left- apaprently recognizing just how much trouble hte right is in
My hope is that we can regain them orality, justice and pride we ocne had, but it’s goign to take a MASSIVE disaster before Americans stop puttign hteir hand out for govenrment giveaways ands begin fendign for themselves liek we’re suppsoed to
Hannity speaks to the low information Conservative. Rush is the leader of the pack. Glenn Beck is in an out of news and his ego. Wilkow and Levin are great information. The liberals sit home and believe lies.
Fundamentally...The government schools were ALWAYS a socialist and single-payer entitlement. This is the evil that comes from socialist and single-payer programs.
!!!**** And...I have NEVER heard Rush or the rest ever ask listeners to remove their children or call for the shut down of these government school, socialist-entitlement, single-payer, and GODLESS indoctrination centers. ****!!!!
With Rush and the rest it is **ALWAYS** nibble nibble nibble. They almost NEVER drive a stake into the heart of the matter.
By the way...Government schooling ( just as with Obamacare) was ALWAYS corrupt. It has ALWAYS been a socialist and single payer entitlement. It only took one to three generations of this indoctrination to give the nation Woodrow Wilson, direct election of Senators, the Federal Reserve, the failed one-world League of Nations, usurpation of state land for federal parks, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and his socialism.
Just as with socialist-entitlement and single payer schooling it will take a few generations of Obamacare for the true horror to be manifest. For a generation or two the values of the workers who have been trained in the old system will humanize ( somewhat) the coming system of socialist-entitlement, GODLESS, and single-payer medicine.
Anyway....I will never TRUST Rush and the rest again. Not after their handling of Obama’s eligibility. God has never commanded us to TRUST anyone, certainly not a talk radio personality.
Republicans voted. Fraud overwhelmed their votes.
So?...Hannity spent some time on this past election's voter fraud. Where was Rush? Answer: DEAD IN THE WATER.
When it comes to issues that really matter, Rush is absent or merely nibbles at the edges.
Conservative talk show hosts are the Masters of Safe!
Please read my post #24.
He will be the first to tell you that his job is to make people think about what is right.
His job is not to tell us what to do.
He has enough respect for us to know that people who know the truth will do the right thing.
What do you expect him to do lead marches and throw eggs?
He is not going to do that.
I have been listening to him since he went national back in 1989, I think it was.
If you remember back then, there wasn't much out there where we could hear conservative thought 15 hours a week.
My first thought listening to him was "This man is saying EXACTLY what I know in my heart to be true."
He is a national voice speaking to the world what I believe.
He is my voice on the national stage.
If that is the only thing he does, THAT is enough.
There are enough other people out there telling people to get active and call their representatives.
Rush has one job that he does exceedingly well.
If Rush is not to your liking, then by all means listen to someone else.
But for me I like having someone who echoes my thoughts.
The end of Don't Ask Don't Tell ( Silence)
Obama’s eligibility ( near silence and a joke or two.)
Calling government schools what they really are. ( nope!)
Homofascist bulliying of ordinary citizens ( Silence.)
The 2012 voter fraud. ( Silence.)
And...Many other social and political issues!
WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD TRUST THIS MAN?????
You should add Jerry Doyle to your list. He pulls no punches.
Rush Limbaugh! “The Master of Safe Topics!”
I don’t want to be disrespectful, but if you think you could do a better job then why don’t you try it?
We forget that first and foremost that a conservative radio talk host's main job is to make a profit for themselves and their syndicators and advertisers. They are entertainers who target certain market segments to sell advertisements. They preach to the choir and reinforce already held conservative beliefs. Rush and company do not target or try to convert the unwashed masses simply because that does not generate revenue for them or their sponsors. In many respects,Free Republic really does not influence public debate or win converts to the conservative cause. We preach to each other, members of the conservative choir, to reinforce our attitudes and to make each of us feel better about the cause. That in itself is invaluable.
The enemies of America long for the days of old..
I remember the decades of the "Fairness Doctrine;"
the First Amendment remained but conservative opinion was stifled by "ordinary" citizens complaining about media content thus threatening the station owners' licenses..
It does not help that the Republican Party is struggling to put forth a cohesive and persuasive agenda or that it lacks the kind of leadership that reflects the kind of adulation and support the President continues to enjoy.
This is Nelson Rockefeller's speech (my edited version) presented at the 1964 Republican Party convention. Nothing has changed. Today it is the Tea Party that the RNC hates.
Remarks on Extremism at the 1964 Republican National Convention by NEW YORK GOVERNOR NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA JULY 14, 1964
Rockefeller, Scranton, Romney, et al wanted a plank in the Party 1964 election platform condemning.. well, Goldwater and his supporters.
The Republican Party fully respects . . . responsible criticism, and . . . the right of dissent . . . But we repudiate . . . irresponsible, extremist groups . . . [that] discredit our Party by their efforts to infiltrate positions of responsibility in the Party, or to attach themselves to its candidates.
The time has come for the Republican party . . . [to] take decisive action [against groups] which would subvert this party to purposes alien to the very basic tenets which gave this party birth . . . "The Republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed and highly disciplined minority . . . [the purpose of this minority is] "wholly alien to the . . . honest conservatism [of] the Republican party . . ., wholly alien to the sound and honest Republican liberalism . . . , wholly alien to . . . the mainstream of Republican principles."
. . . During this year, I have criss-crossed this nation . . . warning of the extremist threat, its danger to the party and its danger to the nation . . . These extremists feed on fear, hate and terror. They have no program for America - no program for the Republican party . . . These extremists have no plan and no program to keep the peace and bring freedom to the world. On the contrary - they spread distrust. They engender suspicion. They encourage disunity. And they operate from the dark shadows of secrecy . . .
There is no place in this Republican party for such hawkers of hate, such purveyors of prejudice, such fabricators of fear . . . There is no place in this Republican party for those who would infiltrate its ranks, distort its aims, and convert it into a cloak of apparent respectability for a dangerous extremism. . . These people have nothing in common with Republicanism. These people have nothing in common with Americans. The Republican party must repudiate these people.
BTW..I am hearing talk show hosts discuss how "consultants" are advising that listeners do not like all the political and anti-Obama talk.. Who the hell are the consultants?! DNC moles? DNC shills?.. like the decades of the "Fairness Doctrine" when liberal shills "advised" what was proper and what was not?
Americans have long defended free speech with blood. Today enemies within threaten our free speech we must also defend free speech with blood.. their blood, our free speech.
I dont want to be disrespectful, but if you think you could do a better job then why dont you try it?
I am NOT being disrespectfully by pointing out the obvious:
1) Maybe those on Free Republic are doing the real job of being effective.
2) Please remember that ideas are the most powerful thing in the universe. That we exist at all began as an idea in the mind of God. It is on Free Republic and sites like this that the truly original ideas can and are being found.
3) Most of Rush’s program can be found right here on Free Republic in the hours **BEFORE** his program. This is where he gets nearly all of his show prep. Very little that is heard on Rush’s program is original.
“Never get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”
Listening to talk radio is an exercise in frustration.
Constant commercials, and if not commercials then 99% of the rest is callers/hosts yakking about what the a-hole liberals are doing/saying.
Yes, we know they are a-holes. How about talking about conservative/traditional principles and why these ideas are better?
Talk radio also is over-exposed. Took what was a good idea and mass-produced it. “Safe-only” topics, so the sponsors won’t get backlash.
“Entertainment” is ok, but don’t expect it to produce anything productive other than a very good living for most of the hosts.
If you want to waste a lot of time listening to commercials and SAFE topics then spend three hours listening to Rush. ( Whose show prep, by the way, can be found her on Free Republic hours before Rush is on the air.)
Me? I get my news and political opinion in 1/3 the time right here on Free Republic. The comments and topics are cutting edge and I am never disappointed with “Safe” issues.And... Freepers are often amazingly witty, as well.
Why waste time with Rush with his BORING and** SAFE***? If you like boring and safe, then go for it. Waste three hours.
Personally I don't find boring and safe entertaining. Instead, I find it boring and safe. ( Yawn!)
And...Anyone who can ignore Obama’s eligibility, and many other important topics, simply isn't trustworthy enough to waste any precious minutes of life on listening to him.
[[Where was Rush? Answer: DEAD IN THE WATER.]]
Exactly, which is why i could never udnerstand why everyone gushes over rush- He’s out to make millions- period- and when the whitehouse barks, he recoils, just like the rest-
What you said! And, FWIW, this is my one bone to pick with Levin as well.
I listen to real good shows. They have replaced the news for me. I use them and websites. I only rarely watch cable news much anymore. It is ten steps behind Radio talk shows. The Blaze and PJTV are video sources I watch more than Fox News. Don’t get One America News.